As Rotary year 2020–21 came to a close Manik Raj Singla, president of RC Patiala Midtown, RID 3090, was a satisfied Rotarian. “I led my team to implement 76 projects impacting several lives throughout last year and am happy with my performance,” he smiles. However, the project closest to his heart is the vocational training programme for women. The club has installed a centre at the Rotary Bhawan in Patiala to train women in tailoring. Thirty women have learnt the skill last year and 15 of them were given sewing machines, due to their poor economic condition, to help them pursue the vocation. The club provides assistance to the trained women in getting placement or setting up their own tailoring unit.
Singla’s aim is to train 1,000 women. The pandemic and the ensuing lockdown slowed down the project. “But my successor, Tarsen Bansal, is equally enthusiastic to continue the programme.” The job is easier as Singla is the club secretary this year. Classes are conducted in two batches using 32 sewing machines at the centre. At the onset of the second Covid wave the club provided 5,000 cloth masks to the district administration earning the city commissioner’s appreciation. “It was a case of waste to wealth. We got 500 pieces of cotton cloth from a cloth merchant and the trainee women were taught to design masks out of the cloths. We paid the women for the job. So it was a win-win for all,” says Singla.
Another noteworthy project is the virtual essay writing competition which saw participation of 2,400 school students. The Punjab education minister Vijay Inder Singla was the chief guest at the finale. The club hosted an online RYLA for two days. The event, presided over by PRID Bharat Pandya, had 1,900 participants from across the district. A painting competition for schoolchildren and an online public speaking contest for youngsters were other events conducted by the club.
“We distributed 10,000 masks to farmers participating in the ongoing agitation and are providing sanitisers and masks to orphanages and old age homes which we visit regularly,” he says. The club members often celebrate their birthdays and other important days of their life with the inmates. They distributed blankets and footwear to the people in these homes.
Two blood donation and two medical camps, enhancing infrastructure in government schools and sapling plantation are few other activities implemented during last year. The club had facilitated vaccination for 5,000 people through its 12 Covid vaccine centres.
Singla chartered three Interact and a Rotaract club during the year. “This year, as Interact and e-learning chair, I have installed nine Interact clubs so far,” smiles Singla, a Rotarian since 2017. He owes his passion for Rotary to his father who is a member of RC Patiala.